Warsaw, 9 April 1948. A member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, [Judge] Halina Wereńko, heard the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
My name is Kazimiera Palińska, I am the daughter of Szymon and Justyna, née Płoska; I was born on 3 March 1883 in Swir, Święciany county; I am Roman Catholic; I finished three grades at a Russian school; I live in Warsaw at Willowa Street 8/10, flat 29.
My son Józef Paliński, a professional corporal of the Polish Army, was on active duty in the Border Protection Corps in Żywiec. In September 1939 he was taken captive by the Germans, but he managed to escape, and in December he came to Warsaw. As soon as he arrived, my son became actively engaged in the clandestine movement of the Polish Underground. I knew that he distributed a newspaper called “Jutro” [Tomorrow]. I don’t know the name of the organization to which my son had belonged.
(The witness produced a certified copy of a certificate dated 16 April 1946, ref. no. 1966, issued by the Liquidation Commission of the former Home Army of the central region and signed by the chairman of the Liquidation Commission of the former Home Army, Colonel Radosław. The certificate states that Józef Paliński, nom de guerre “Murzyn,” a soldier of the Home Army, took active part in the clandestine activities of the Home Army, as a result of which he was arrested on 9 August [March] 1943 and incarcerated in Pawiak prison, where he was executed. The copy was certified on 18 April 1946 by the head of the office of the National Council of the Capital City of Warsaw, signature illegible; there is a round seal with an inscription in the rim /-/ The National Council of the Capital City of Warsaw.) On 9 March 1943 before 5.00 p.m., a man in plain clothes came to flat no. 21 at Grochowska Street 320, where we lived at the time, and asked in German about my son. I pointed to the door where Józef was working. I heard a loud conversation in German, and I saw through the door that the man was checking Józef’s identity papers. Then both of them left, but my son assured me that he would be right back. Indeed, he returned with three men in plain clothes. Shortly afterwards, a car with Gestapo men arrived (I can’t always distinguish between units, but I suppose these were Gestapo men) and they took my son. The three men in plain clothes remained in the flat and carried out a detailed search, but they did not find anything.
As I did not receive any message from my son, I went to the head of the railway, a German (my son had recently been working at the railway), but he did not help me. I went to the Gestapo at aleja Szucha 25 myself. In the building I met on of the Germans in plain clothes who had taken my son. Many Germans were asking me questions, but eventually – seeing my despair – they issued me a pass to Pawiak prison. The sentries by the Ghetto gate let me in, and so I reached the fence of Pawiak. I was not allowed to go any further, but a sentry showed me my son, who had just gone out for a walk in the yard, through the posts of the fence. I saw my son from the distance of some 10 meters. His hands were cuffed in the back and he had a swollen, bruised face. He had his cheek cut under the left eye. We were not allowed to talk. Later, I took my son’s underwear for washing three times from the police station at Krochmalna Street (I don’t remember the number). Every time his underwear was stained with blood.
In the second half of February 1944, I don’t remember the exact date (it might have been on 17 or maybe 18 February), I saw a poster with some 30 surnames of executed people and some 30 surnames of hostages, fastened to a post on the corner of Marszałkowska Street and Aleje Jerozolimskie on the even-numbered side, opposite the Main Railway Station. I saw [on it] the surname and the date of birth of my son Józef. A few days later, an execution took place opposite that post on the corner of Aleje Jerozolimskie and Marszałkowska Street. However, my son’s friends from the underground organization reassured me, saying that they had collected a large sum of money (they did not say how much) which they had allegedly paid for crossing my son’s name off the list of hostages. A woman whose name I don’t know (residing at 6 Sierpnia Street 15 or 24 in Warsaw) intervened with the Germans in this matter. The following friends of my son were taking care of me and of his release: Władysław Bobiński “Blizna” (I don’t know his current address), “Grad,” “Jastrząb,” “Jaskółka,” and others.
In March, one of them informed me that Józef had been transferred from Pawiak to the prison at Daniłowiczowska Street and that I could go and see him through the cell window. I don’t remember the date, but in the early morning one day at the beginning of March 1944 I came to Daniłowiczowska Street and I saw my son in the window of a cell on the first floor (behind the bars). He knocked on the pane and even told me, when I said that he looked bad (he was completely yellow), that he had been sleeping on the straw in the basements. Both times I saw my son he was in the same military clothes in which he had been arrested and he had his head shaved.
I have but scant information about my son’s subsequent fate. I was still bringing packages to the police station at Krochmalna Street and at first they were being accepted. In August [July] 1944 the package was rejected. Already in March 1944, in the police station at Krochmalna Street, I met a Ukrainian (I do not know his surname) who told me that he had been working in Pawiak prison, and that he could facilitate correspondence with my son for me. I was meeting the Ukrainian in front of an Evangelical church at Leszno Street. He brought me a few secret messages from my son. If I should find such a message back home, I will submit it to the citizen judge. I cannot say whether the messages were written in my son’s handwriting. I think that the handwriting was not very similar to my son’s.
In the last week of August [July] 1944, I sent my son nine thousand zlotys through the Ukrainian; the Ukrainian gave me back 8,500 zlotys, saying that my son wanted only 500 zlotys. For his services, I gave the Ukrainian a gold ring and a watch.
I met the Ukrainian for the last time on 1 August 1944 before 5.00 p.m. in front of the Evangelical church at Leszno Street. He gave me the last message from my son. He then told me that my son had been transferred to Mokotów prison. Just after the conversation, already during the shooting, I went across Kierbedzia Bridge to Praga. I have not had any other information concerning my son.
In April 1945 I was present during an exhumation carried out by the Polish Red Cross in the courtyard of Mokotów prison at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw. I did not find the body of my son among the exhumed corpses. During the exhumation, I heard from other people that these were the corpses of prisoners who had been murdered by the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising.
Upon request I would like to explain that I have never testified before the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes. In 1945, I told my story to a lieutenant of the Polish Army (I know neither his surname nor address) who had then been employed in the County Office at Willowa Street 8/10. He has not been working there since 1946.
I have only one larger photograph of my son and I can submit it for the purpose of making a blueprint.
At this the report was concluded and read out.